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This Week in Women's BB: How the Huskers Got Their Groove Back

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The Husker women notch a 2-1 record despite official confirmation that their floor leader is lost for the season.

David McGee

It was a big week for Huskers women’s basketball. Coach Yori confirmed what many suspected -- Rachel Theriot will miss the rest of the season due to a torn ligament in her ankle. In the four Theriot-less games before the announcement, the Huskers went 1-3. Admittedly the losses were against ranked teams that would have been a tough task WITH her in the lineup.

In the week after the announcement, the Huskers have begun to find their new groove, going 2-1. Overall the Huskers sit at 20-8 and 10-7 in the B1G.

The Minnesota game especially highlighted a group willing to step up their own game AND help their teammates do what they do best (Husker Men’s BB - take note). An achievement that should not be lost in all the Theriot news is the fact that the seniors (Laudermill, Jeffery, Sample, Cady) have become the winning-est class in Huskers WBB history with 95 to their credit. They did not ride the coattails of others; against Minnesota these seniors boasted 500 combined appearances in Husker uniforms. The quartet has scored 3,691 points, 2,380 rebounds and 798 assists in their college careers.

Nebraska wraps up the regular season on Sunday (March 1) when the Huskers take on Ohio State.

Nebraska 74 Minnesota 50 - February 24

If you watch the TV broadcast only and neglect to listen to Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch -- shame on you. This game showcased the huskers.com duo at their best . Some of the gems coming out of their commentary include a discussion on whether the Huskers should hand out those "Hello My Name Is" tags and that Natalie Romeo's should say "Hello, My name is Natalie Romeo and you might want to guard me".  Minnesota apparently overlooked the freshman-Theriot-replacement in their game planning and she made them pay. Natalie tied career highs with 21 points and six three-pointers (one shy of the school record) as the Huskers notched their fourth consecutive 20-win season.

Minnesota slipped to 22-7 on the season and 11-6 in the Big Ten.

Cady, a 6-2 forward from Seward, Neb., outplayed reigning Big Ten and National Player of the Week Amanda Zahui. Cady poured in 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds, dished out four assists and blocked two shots, while going 7-of-13 from the floor.

Jeffery, the smallest player on the floor at 5-7, nearly produced her first career double-double with nine points, 11 rebounds and four assists. In fact, in two games against Minnesota, the senior from Vacherie, La., averaged 13.5 rebounds per game, including a career-high 16 on Dec. 29.

Nebraska 67 Indiana 64 - February 21

Emily Cady produced a huge game with 22 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four blocks to lead No. 21 Nebraska to a 67-64 win at Indiana.

Indiana slipped to 14-13 overall and 4-12 in the conference.

Fellow senior Hailie Sample pitched in 12 points and six rebounds, while Tear'a Laudermill contributed 11 points and four assists. Nebraska's fourth senior, Brandi Jeffery, pitched in eight points, eight rebounds and three assists to help the Husker seniors tie a Nebraska record with their 94th win as a class.

While the seniors carried the Big Red to the threshold of victory, freshman Natalie Romeo closed the door on the Hoosiers by hitting four straight free throws in one-and-one situations in the final 30 seconds. Romeo finished with seven points and four rebounds. Allie Havers added four points and three rebounds off the bench, while Chandler Smith contributed a big three-pointer.

Northwestern 59 Nebraska 51 - February 18

No. 21 Nebraska cut a 24-point deficit to six with over two minutes left before falling 59-51 to the Northwestern women's basketball team at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

With the win, a very talented Northwestern squad improved to 20-6 overall and 10-5 in the conference.

The Huskers, who shot just 10.7 percent (3-28) from the floor in the first half, fell behind 43-19 with just over 14 minutes left in the game, before going on an 8-0 run to cut the margin to 43-27 after back-to-back baskets by Laudermill with 9:42 left. Again, the Huskers turned to Laudermill with four straight points to trim the lead to 48-42 with 2:04 remaining - the smallest Wildcat lead since scoring the first eight points of the game.

The Big Red could get no closer, but remained within six points at 50-44 and 53-47 after Laudermill's second and final three with 49 seconds left.

Northwestern hit six straight free throws down the stretch to seal its 20th win, giving the Wildcats their first 20-win season since 1995-96.